Twenty Gardaí have been seconded (presumably from roughing up women at water meter protests) to Tánaiste Burton’s Dept of Social
Destruction Protection to fight Welfare fraud.
The trick here is to look tough on crime and hope the media plays along. However, there really isn’t much welfare fraud, despite the column inches. Last year the Dept reviewed a million cases and found savings of around €25m between overpayments, incorrect payments and negligible fraud.
That’s €25m out of a Welfare budget of over €20bn.
In 2012 just 84 cases of possible Welfare fraud were forwarded to Gardaí for investigation. Pointless.
Meanwhile, in the real world, just 8 Gardaí were appointed to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement to investigate the ‘Anglo affair’, Seany Fitz, the Maple 10 and the tens of billions that is continuing to cost this country for the next few decades. How’s that all working out for us?
The other bit of smoke and mirrors here is the talk of ‘control savings’ – an official term for ‘picking numbers out of our hole’. Economist Michael Taft describes control savings thusly:
“the gardai estimating the number of murders that might take place over time if there were no police force” or “revenue claiming the estimated level of tax fraud if there were no audits and checks”
Check out more of Taft over here.